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Scoop Link: Brazil, NZ block LMOs proposal

Brazil, New Zealand block LMOs proposal

June 06, 2005

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MONTREAL, JUNE 5: Brazil and New Zealand were successful in blocking the birth of an effective global regime for disciplining transboundary movement, handling and packaging of living modified organisms (LMOs).

Trade interests prevailed over the biosafety concerns. The body of 119-member countries deliberating on this vital issue since the last five days could not arrive at a consensus till June 3, the last day of the Second Meeting of Parties (MOP/2) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The last bid by Switzerland in form of a fresh non-paper draft package to restore the negotiation process failed. Even subsequent intervention by India proved ineffective.

Brazil and New Zealand could block the proposal to which all other countries had agreed to. Brazil, which has recently approved genetically modified (GM) soyabean for cultivation, thought that the proposal to discipline transbounday movements, handling and packaging of LMOs would go against its trade interests. New Zealand’s move was on expected line as it is a member of JUSCANZ (Japan-US-Canada-New Zealand) group. As per agreement, the specification of the identity of the LMOs should be completed within two years after the Protocol came into force in September 11, 2003.

As the MOP/2 was unable to decide on the issue, it was decided that this issue would be discussed at the Third Meeting of Parties (MOP/3) to Cartagena Protocol slated to held nine months later in Curitiba in Brazil. New Zealand wanted more "clarity in documentation process" while Brazil took the pretext, saying "more time is required to implement the process".

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